We say that a verb is a part of speech (or word class) that describes an action or occurrence or indicates a state of being.
Generally, it makes more sense to define a verb by what it does than by what it is.
Just as the “same” word (rain orsnow, for example) can serve as either a noun or a verb, the same verb can play a number ofdifferent roles depending on how it’s used.
Put simply, verbs move our sentences along in a variety of ways.Here, by identifying 10 types of verbs, we’ll briefly consider some of their more common functions as well.
Auxiliary Verbs and Lexical Verbs
An auxiliary verb(also known as a helping verb) determines the mood or tense of another verb in a phrase: “It will rain tonight.” The primary auxiliariesare be, have, and do. The modalauxiliaries include can, could, may, must, should, will, and would.
A lexical verb(also known as a full or main verb) is any verb in English that isn’t an auxiliary verb: it conveys a real meaning and doesn’t depend on another verb: “It rained all night.”
Dynamic Verbs and Stative Verbs
A dynamic verbindicates an action, process, or sensation: “I bought a new guitar.”
A stative verb(such as be, have, know, like, own, and seem) describes a state, situation, or condition: “Now I own a Gibson Explorer.”
Finite Verbs and Nonfinite Verbs
A finite verbexpresses tense and can occur on its own in a main clause: “She walked to school.”
A non-finite verb (an infinitive or participle) doesn’t show a distinction in tense and can occur on its own only in a dependent phrase or clause: “While walking to school, she spotted a blue jay.”
Regular Verbs and Irregular Verbs
A regular verb(also known as a weak verb) forms its past tense and past participle by adding -dor -ed (or in some cases -t) to the base form: “We finished the project.”
An irregular verb(also known as a strong verb) doesn’t form the past tense by adding -d or -ed: “Gus ate the wrapper on hiscandy bar.” (See Introduction toIrregular Verbs in English.)
Transitive Verbs and Intransitive Verbs
A transitive verbis followed by a direct object: “She sells seashells.”
An intransitive verbdoesn’t take a direct object: “He sat there quietly.” (This distinction is especially tricky because many verbs have both a transitive and an intransitive function.)